Who amongst us doesn’t want smooth, frizz-free hair? Whilst some of us can get such results with styling creams and hot tools, there are a few who need something stronger. Keratin treatments, or Brazilian blowouts, are one of the common procedures that people opt for. However, before you book an appointment and rush to the salon, here are 5 things you must know about this popular treatment.

1. The Chemicals Involved

First things first, the word ‘keratin’ is mostly a marketing gimmick. Whilst some treatments do saturate your strands with high doses of keratin, most methods involve the use of other chemicals to do the job. Traditionally, formaldehyde solutions are used to transform your hair. Newer methods involve ingredients such as methylene glycol and formalin.

2. What Actually Happens

Like most other hair treatments, this one too takes its time. A good salon will first cleanse your hair to ensure that any residual grime and build-up is removed. Next, the treatment solution is applied and distributed evenly throughout your hair. Depending on the chemicals used, the salon will leave the mixture in for a while so that it can penetrate your strands. Finally, your new texture is sealed in with the help of hot tools like a blow-dryer and flat iron.

Now that we’ve understood the process, let’s get down to what’s really happening. Unlike permanent straightening treatments, this treatment does not break and rebuild the bonds in your hair. Instead, the chemicals used here lock your strands and force them into a straighter alignment. This is reinforced with the use of heat.

3. The Results

There’s no denying that this treatment delivers serious results. Post your appointment, you can expect silky smooth, straighter and frizz-free locks. However, if you have really curly hair, this treatment will only loosen the curls and not straighten them. It’s also important to note that the results are semi-permanent. As your hair grows out, its natural texture will be back. Most people can expect the results to last anywhere from two to five months.

4. The Risks

Remember the chemicals we talked about? Turns out that there’s a huge downside to using them. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and thus can lead to problems if you are exposed to it for a large period of time. In addition, it can also cause symptoms such as a sore throat, cough, itchy eyes and nosebleeds.

Many salon tout their treatments as ‘formaldehyde-free’, but the same may not be true. Whilst they may not be using the chemical directly, their solutions may contain ingredients such as methylene glycol, formalin and methanal, which release formaldehyde as a gas when they are exposed to heat or mixed with water. To keep yourself protected, it’s best to limit the treatments to once or twice a year. Also, ensure that the salon you choose is well ventilated so that you minimise the risk of breathing the formaldehyde in. Pregnant or breastfeeding women are usually cautioned against undergoing this treatment.

If your hair is severely damaged, you may want to avoid this procedure too. Whilst the solution may not damage your hair, the high temperatures of the flat iron can fry your locks and lead to hair loss.

5. Post-Treatment Care

Post-care is as important as the actual process. Generally, salons recommend waiting for at least 12 hours before washing your hair. This time period may even extend to days depending on the solution used. When you do wash your hair, it’s important to use a sulfate-free formula. If you can, decrease the number of times you shampoo every week so that you can get longer lasting results.

In addition, you should stay away from products with sodium chloride (salt), which can cause your hair to frizz faster. It’s also best to avoid swimming in the pool and ocean to preserve your new texture.

We hope this guide will keep you informed of all the potential benefits and downfalls of a keratin treatment. Let us know if you have any further queries.

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